Players in the Williams Lake Slo-Pitch League have been waiting a long time for this coming weekend when the league will host its first tournament of the 2021 season.
Held back due to the COVID-19 pandemic, regular season play began June 1, where around 700 participants returned to the ball diamonds at the Esler Sports Complex.
In a normal year, the league usually hosts an icebreaker tournament to kick off the season, however, league president Linda Barbondy Rich said she wanted to hold off a bit to ensure players’ safety.
“It’s about time we had a tournament,” Barbondy Rich said jokingly, noting everyone is excited for the three-day event which will see one game played Friday night, followed by round robin games Saturday and Sunday morning, before the playoffs get underway Sunday afternoon.
The tournament championship will take place on Sunday, Aug. 8 at 3:45 p.m.
Barbondy Rich said 15 teams, split into two pools for round robin games, will be duking it out for the title.
Teams will play two round robin games, then compete in double knockout A, B and C divisions for playoffs.
“The fields are looking good, except they are a little dry,” Barbondy Rich said. “But it looks like it may rain this weekend. I don’t think that will put a damper on anything. We need it.”
So far, the WLSPL regular season has been going well, Barbondy Rich added.
“We’ve had one team pull out, but they were a team of firefighters so, obviously, that’s understandable,” she said. “But everything so far is running smoothly.”
Barbondy Rich said the WLSPL may host one more tournament following the season’s conclusion in mid to late September.
“Spectators will be allowed (this weekend) and all that,” Barbondy Rich said, inviting fans to come take in the games.
“People will be outside and spaced around the park.”
The tournament, and others to follow, will also be an opportunity to help the league fundraise to replace all of the infield shale for each of the park’s four fields.
Barbondy Rich said the league has also ordered new player’s benches, and will be hosting more fundraising tournaments in the future to help cover those costs, as well.